Windows may be the preferred choice for desktops, but web-administrators are still clung to Linux as the OS of their choice. The customizability that Linux has brought, especially to cheap cPanel VPS hosting, is remarkable. Quite predictably, the majority of the world’s top one million websites are powered by Linux. So are the top 500 supercomputers in the world. The free to licence source-code of Linux gave deviant companies the liberty to develop their modified version of Linux. As a result, there are more than 200 different Linux distros available today.
The second most-crucial step, once you have decided the server type while setting up a Linux server is choosing its distro. While there are several distributions out there, your choice should be based on what fits your requirement. A free version, is free, of course, but doesn’t provide support. Web-admins working on such distros are forced to rely on community support. A paid version, on the other hand, offers you the same robustness combined with dedicated support all round-the-clock.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux,-RHEL is brief- is a paid distro that is dictating the commercial market today. Before RHEL, Red Hat Linux dominated the Linux market until its discontinuation in 2004. RHEL was then exclusively made to cater to the demands for an enterprise and is dictating the paid-Linux market ever since.
This article will broaden your perspective on Red Hat, and how and why it is the correct choice for a paid distro for your server. We have based our writing on release 6 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Red Hat at a glance
Red Hat Linux, the first distro rolled out by Red Hat, was one of the most widely adopted distros that time. While a paid licence provided support, a free version was also available for download. Red Hat eventually decided to split its project into:
1. The paid edition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux
2. The free of charge edition, Fedora.
The enterprise product from Red Hat is not available for free download. The other edition, Fedora, was made available free of charge but is still not preferred by many due to its non-conservative release cycle. The free version has a quick release cycle and is somewhat used as the test-platform for the company’s enterprise edition. Many users cringe at this aspect of Fedora.
RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux)
RHEL cannot be downloaded for free. However, stipulations on the licence on which RHEL is based forced Red Hat to make its source code available to the public. Red Hat did not release the complete compiled code and only released an RPM format of its source-code. CentOS, another popular free distro, is a free replacement to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is based on the latter’s source code.
Perks of choosing RHEL for your server
The support provided by Red Hat for RHEL compensates for its price, and each release adds new important capabilities.
Software optimization and power management
Sophisticated systems have large wattage-requirements. The scale on which these machines are used in both the number and usage-time, even a fraction of additional power consumption results in huge electricity spending.
CPU-usage is directly proportional to power consumption. Software optimization helps keep a check on the amount of resource that idle applications can use, it also caps the resources used by active applications. Algorithms in RHEL are now refined, so software use less CPU than before.
The RHEL release 6 is intensely reliable. It supports software-enabled operations that allow a machine to continue working even when the hardware or a component of hardware undergoes failure.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Red Hat-made distro is a popular choice is because it provides quality support. A regular free distro relies on community support as opposed to dedicated support on RHEL. Red Hat’s support has its reputation of being timely and precise.
Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux)
Security can a make-or-break factor when it comes to choosing between distributions that perform equally well on all the other parameters.
SELinux, an architecture incorporated into the Linux kernel, is a joint effort of US National Security Agency and Red Hat.
RHEL includes SELinux Enhancements that provide multi-level security. The addition of new audit features provide real-time monitoring.
To sum up, enterprise Linux provides enough tools to help you securely deploy enterprise solutions.
Real-time Network monitoring
Red Hat has been able to successfully implement real-time network monitoring functions in its recent release and is working on enhancing it further. Monitoring helps network administrators to have comprehensive stats on what’s going on in their network.
Regular testing and frequent release cycles are the reason why Red Hat’s distros perform better than most of its competitors. Application optimization (discussed above) translates into smoother and faster operations, which, in turn, provide serene experience to end-users. RHEL releases are unlikely to contain bugs as the same is thoroughly tested on machines running Fedora- Red Hat’s free distro.
Deploying Application Image
RHEL 7 has already been rolled out, and the way it deploys environments similar to a virtual machine has taken people by quite a surprise. A tool, named Docker, facilitates running application images inside containers in a fashion very similar to running it in a virtual environment. With this tool, it will be possible to skip setting up an entire Operating System, in a Virtual Machine, just to test a simple application.
RHEL is the compatibility standard among Linux distros. Some commercial applications are designed to work in RHEL, but not other distributions. The support and operational capabilities in RH’s enterprise Linux saves valuable time that can be better utilized elsewhere. For administrators willing to focus more on streamlining their server- functions rather than fixing bugs on their OS, RHEL will make it worth their time.
Many web-administrators are partial to Red Hat Enterprise Linux; and even when left with no choice, only go for RHEL’s source-code derived OS. The downside to community distros is the lack of master schedule across every package. Working on security patches and fixes is an exhaustive task, and at the top of that, takes money. Despite being a paid OS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux server is still a much cheaper option over cheap windows dedicated server.